Last Updated on January 27, 2023
The Moroccan jihadist accused of killing a church worker and injuring a priest in a machete attack on a church in Spain was slated for deportation, officials said during a press conference on Thursday.
The suspect was arrested on Wednesday after a man wielding a machete attacked several people at the churches of San Isidro and Nuestra Senora de La Palma in the southern port city of Algeciras, the Associated Press reported. The two churches are located about 1,000 feet apart.
Diego Valencia, a sacristan at the Nuestra Senora de La Palma church, was killed after the attacker chased him outside and proceeded to stab him in a bush public squares. A priest and a number of other church attendees were also stabbed but are expected to recover.
Antonio Rodriguez, a priest at San Isidro, underwent surgery after suffering serious wounds but is expected to recover, the city’s mayor announced in a statement.
The 25-year-old Moroccan was identified as a suspect and taken into custody on Wednesday evening. Officers then took him to his home on Thursday morning in order to conduct a search, a spokesman for Spain’s National Police said.
He is expected to be transferred to Spain’s capital city of Madrid to appear before a high court judge on terrorism charges, officials said.
A police spokesman denied reports that the suspect had been under surveillance in the weeks leading up to the attack. The suspect had no terrorism-related convictions in Spain or other allied countries, a law enforcement source said, according to the AP.
The Moroccan was not in Spain legally and was slated to be deported in June of last year, though the order was not carried out.